Saturday, 19 February 2011

Film Review: FRAILTY (2001)

Director: Bill Paxton
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Thriller
UK release date 6th September 2002

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 19th February 2011.


I watched this on the recommendation of a friend and was pleasantly surprised (thanks for that Mr The Aus Man). Although not perfect, I found it a quite compelling tale of how a vision from God can split a family apart and how it can lead to murder. I will tell you more of my thoughts later, but here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those who don’t wish to know anything about the plot please dig a big hole in the back yard while I write the next paragraph).

After a crop of murders perpetrated by the ‘God’s Hand Killer’ remain unsolved, the lead FBI agent, Wesley Doyle, is surprised when a young man walks into his office and claims to know who the killer is. The man in question, Fenton Meiks, tells of how, at a young age he and his young brother, Adam, were roused in the middle of the night by their father. He has had a vision from God and they are to go out into the world and destroy demons put there by the devil. The boys live alone with their father after their mother died in childbirth. Fenton, being the older brother and is sceptical, but he also fears his father and so keeps quiet. The father is shown which tools to use in another vision and he brings these home. Soon the day comes when their father brings their first ‘demon’ home… I will stop there as I don’t want to give too much away.

A lot of the story is told in flashback and I was impressed with the work of both Matt O'Leary as Young Fenton and Jeremy Sumpter as Young Adam. There were some nice touches in the cinematography and I was relieved that it didn’t become a gore-fest, which it could so easily have done. Of the grown up actors, very powerful performances from both Bill Paxton as the father, and Powers Boothe as FBI Agent Wesley Doyle. Although more subdued, Matthew McConaughey put in a decent performance as Fenton Meiks.

The film has a very slow and deliberate pace that slowly builds up the tension. I would have liked a little more background on the father, particularly about the strength of his faith before his visions. There is a bit of a double twist in the tale at the end which, at first I found a little disappointing, but then changed my mind when the second twist was revealed. Don’t worry, no clues here! Over all, quite a compelling and powerful film that deals with the question of faith and how it can be misconstrued. I guess if you have very strong religious beliefs then you may not find this to your liking, but then, you never know. For me, I found it very watchable and quite compelling. Certainly worth watching for the performance of Matt O’Leary, he was excellent (IMO)… Recommended.

My score: 7.4/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:

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